While many little girls growing up in Fresno, California in the 1960s dreamed of being “Miss Raisin Queen” or the “Cotton Princess”, Mary Ann Simonds wanted to be a horse psychologist. Her parents kindly let her pursue this dream, not telling her how difficult it would be until she was about 12 years old. By that time, the idea was fully implanted in her head, and it was too late to change it as she realized how differently she thought about horses when compared to most people and trainers.
Mary Ann began working towards her dream by obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Biology from the University of Wyoming, and a minor in Range Management. She then went on to earn a Masters degree in Interdisciplinary Consciousness Studies.
Today, Mary Ann is one of the country’s most respected researchers and educators in the fields of human-animal interaction and communication, with over 30 years of professional experience. She consults and gives clinics around the world, has served on the U.S. National Advisory Board on Wild Horse Management, and is considered an “expert witness” and leading authority on wild and domestic horse behavior.
Whether working with Germany’s top Olympic riders or roaming the pens at a BLM wild horse adoption event, Mary Ann’s purpose is the same – getting people to understand what it is their horses wish they knew. She is recognized as having the unique ability to entwine intuitive methods with scientific credibility, and moves us beyond the horse-training paradigm into a people-training one. She shows us how to “think and feel with” our horses.
Mary Ann’s focus on the human-animal bond includes reducing stress for animals and their caregivers by helping people learn about and understand natural behavior and communication. She has developed several techniques to assist people in evaluating and relating more effectively to their animals. O.F.F.E.R. (Open-Friendly-Focused- Empathetic-Respectful), is a process for sharing awareness with animals, while the S.A.I.C.C. (Sensitivity-Awareness- Intelligence-Confidence-Cooperation) Evaluation is used for temperament-typing animals that share their lives with people.
Her “Enchanted Riding” program, meanwhile, takes participants on a journey into the magical kingdom of the horse, where humans and horses are partners, sharing each other’s thoughts and movements. This program changes the way people ride forever. “Riding is a communication between two species, a sharing of energy,” says Mary Ann.
A published author in the U.S. and abroad, Mary Ann has produced four videos/DVDs, three CDs, four books and numerous articles about horses and people. She has spent years developing her educational materials as well as flower essences, aromatherapy and magnetic therapy products.
Mary Ann works with an international community of trainers, judges, riders, veterinarians, and other horse professionals. She is dedicated to shifting the way we train, breed, communicate with and care for our horses. To learn more about Mary Ann and her products, visit www.mystichorse.com.